How I Manage Anxiety Triggers
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How I Manage Anxiety Triggers
If you've been following my blog over the past few years, you may have encountered various posts that explore ways to maintain calmness and overall peace in day-to-day life.
Perhaps you've also come across a recent post where I shared insights into a personal financial crisis and how I currently navigate through such challenging seasons.
In this post, I'd like to discuss my experience with anxiety and how, particularly over the last few years, I've identified triggers and successfully minimized anxious symptoms.
| Also Read: Mental Health Awareness: My 2015 Story
I want to emphasize that I am not a professional health advisor. What I share are additional strategies that have personally helped me, beyond medication. If you are on medication, please continue following the course set by your physician, and consider these suggestions as supplementary approaches to explore for yourself.
I believe the best way to kick this off is by asking questions that might spark your own creativity in tailoring these suggestions to your unique life and situations.
1. What does your morning routine look like?
My daily routine looks significantly different now than it did when my children were younger. If you're currently dealing with younger children, I understand how this question alone might send you into a spin but hang with me. If you find yourself needing to reset your routine but feel overwhelmed about how to do it, you can read my post about routines.
Personally, I incorporate smooth jazz played at a low volume in the morning while I'm getting ready, making breakfast, and even during my journal time. Initially, it felt awkward for both me and my children, especially as they got a little older. However, over time, it became clear to them that when this music is playing, it signifies a time for calmness, not loud and chaotic behavior.
One of the reasons I adopt this approach is to clear my mind of the vocabulary clutter from any other music or TV shows I may have watched the day before. Unlike lyrical music, your mind doesn't hold instrumental music hostage. This shift has been a game-changer for managing anxiety, especially in the morning.
So, I encourage you to browse and create a music station on your YouTube or other music channels to reset the tone of your mornings!
2. When was the last time you checked in on what you are consuming, specifically what you are eating?
Nine months ago, I found myself pondering a crucial question. Despite my choices leaning towards a healthy variety, based on my understanding of food and nutrients at that time, I realized there was room for improvement to reach my optimal well-being. This realization prompted me to delve deeper into my eating habits.
Through this exploration, I identified the need to reduce my sugar intake across all food groups and increase the incorporation of anxiety-reducing foods. Another significant lesson was understanding how to fuel my body more effectively and at appropriate times, tailored to my specific body type and needs. This is still a work in progress.
| Also Read: 6 Month Health & Wellness Update
To simplify this point, I acknowledged that committing to a consistent breakfast and dinner routine every day had a profound impact on how I felt the following day. For lunch, I often opted for healthy fruits, nuts, or a sandwich, and found that to be sufficient.
| Check out my growing recipe search on this blog.
3. How regularly are you taking breaks?Whether you are self-employed, work remotely, or find yourself in another work environment with regulated breaks, my best advice is to take them as scheduled—don't skip them. Many of us have been conditioned to work non-stop, often driven by the 'empty promise' of getting ahead, feeling more productive, or proving our worth through 'hard work.' However, this approach has proven detrimental to our overall well-being, leading to burnout and prolonging the processes of managing anxiety and recovery.
Personally, I find it beneficial to make a trip to my local thrift store during breaks, go outside to forage for pecans in season, or simply stretch and walk around the house. Additionally, taking a moment for a low-intensity chore or enjoying a lunch or snack break can make a significant positive impact.Where my time, energy, and finances allowed, I took short trips out of town to recharge and came back with a sense of renewed energy to jump back into my life's journey forward.
4. Is it time to reevaluate your use of social media and news media outlets?
Two years ago, I initiated a permanent change in the way I handle social media and other online news channels. While it requires regular monitoring, given the evolving landscape of technology and social media, this shift has saved me from succumbing to an anxious spin—feeling the urgent need to keep up with every single piece of news that crosses my path.
Every year and throughout the year, I set aside designated times to either remove or rearrange apps on my phone. I also disengage and limit my activity across various platforms. This deliberate act allows me to redirect my energy inward and toward more creative pursuits. It serves as a reminder that my life is significantly lived beyond these digital spaces. Once I've filled myself in a way that feels right for me, I reengage only with the platforms that align with my current needs and priorities.
| Also Read: Connecting Creatively with Activism
5. Is it time to reevaluate your belief systems?
This has been the most challenging area for me to examine. Our beliefs are intertwined with many aspects of our day-to-day lives, influencing how and why we act, speak, and behave the way we do. When I committed to closely examining my belief systems, I discovered many things that no longer served my highest good or aligned with the direction I desired for my life.
That's when I started reading different books and listening to various perspectives on faith, healing, and holistic approaches to spiritual health. Some of these had been a curiosity of mine in the past (I'd call it intuition), but it took years before I explored this side of myself. I decided to focus on sharpening my intuition and chose an alternative, non-religious approach. I found mentors online and am currently exploring new books and gaining an understanding of the basics of tarot readings.
I acknowledge that this may not be everyone's path, but I bring it up to highlight the importance of taking time to reconsider whether your belief systems are helping or hindering you. It's worth exploring. For the past 3 months, I have witnessed anxiety plummet downward exponentially as a result of doing this.
6. Are you getting enough individual counseling or check-ins for your emotional or mental health?
Over the past year, I turned to clinical counseling to address anxiety and stress triggered by a significant financial loss the year before. During this period, I discovered both the benefits and limitations of having only one approach to counseling. Sometimes, I needed to access available resources frequently, while other times, taking a break and trying something new was necessary. All of these are allowed and crucial to reaching a new place of feeling grounded again.
When I sensed that clinical counseling had reached its peak in assistance, I transitioned to life coaching for a while. Later, when I felt the need for a break from that, I turned to an app called Mind Doc for regular emotional check-ins every day. More recently, I explored the book "Finding Your People" by Jennie Allen to understand and fill in the relational gap, where community connects the dots to fulfill emotional and mental health needs. All of these approaches represent well-meaning, intentional steps toward maintaining a healing energy.
8. How effectively are you managing your financial matters?Take a deep breath. I know discussing financial matters can be triggering for many people, including myself. Regardless of whether we are in a season of abundance or facing challenges, our past and present circumstances can heavily influence how we navigate the present.
If you've transitioned from a past season of financial scarcity to abundance, there might still be lingering anxiety about potentially losing that newfound stability. Alternatively, if you're navigating consecutive seasons of making ends meet, anxiety may persist.
What I offer as consolation isn't a magical fix but rather a regular practice of budget check-ins every week, regardless of the income situation. Cultivating the habit of developing and managing your income, whatever it may be, takes away some of the unknown, thereby reducing tension. Here's where you can find steps to how I manage my budget check-in on a weekly basis.
Remember, it's a journey, not a destination. Acknowledge the progress you make, no matter how small, and be kind to yourself on the days when the road seems tougher. Managing anxiety is an ongoing process, and there's strength in embracing the ebb and flow of life.
Want to try or support a non-profit organization committed to open communication, workshops, and live/chat/text access to anxiety support talk agents? I've used the service once and had a positive experience and will use them again!
What are other ways you have learned to manage anxiety and triggers? Thank you in advance for sharing your story and resources!
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